Collin S. McCarthy
Collin McCarthy is an Associate in the Land Use and Environmental Law Practice Group. He represents public agencies and private entities in land use and environmental law matters covering all phases of the land use entitlement and permitting process, including administrative approvals and litigation involving the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and State Planning and Zoning Law.
Collin has worked on a broad range of land use development projects, including residential, commercial, mixed-use, renewable energy, and long-range planning projects. His unique background combines first-hand experience working in the public, private and non-profit sectors of the land use environmental law field.
Collin’s practice includes drafting pleadings, briefs and motion papers, engaging and directing subject matter experts and summarizing expert testimony, assisting in the preparation of administrative records, and providing and reviewing comment letters on draft environmental review documents. He regularly appears before local agencies to testify on CEQA and other land use matters and has successfully argued a dispositive motion on behalf of a client in litigation over the environmental review and approval of a new residential building. He has appeared in matters before both the superior courts and court of appeal.
Prior to private practice, Collin was a Graduate Law Fellow in the Environmental Law and Justice Clinic of Golden Gate University School of Law. He represented nonprofits and community organizations in all phases of litigation and administrative proceedings on matters of state and federal environmental law. He supervised law student clinicians and assisted with the development of legal advocacy skills, engaged with clients, co-counsel, and witnesses, and drafted various legal documents including trial court and appellate briefs, memoranda, comment letters, and public records requests. Collin argued a motion in California Superior Court relating to administrative writ procedure and the regulation of waste discharges from agricultural activities.
Collin’s environmental law and business background also includes working as a Litigation Specialist at a national environmental consulting firm that specializes in environmental compliance, environmental justice and socioeconomic analysis, GIS support and integration, natural and cultural resources consulting, and project management. He also served as a full-time law clerk in the Ecology Division of the Washington State Office of the Attorney General where he worked on matters involving state and federal statutes and assisted division attorneys in resolving disputes relating to oil spills, NPDES permitting, and the implementation of land use regulations.
At the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration’s Office of the General Counsel, Collin worked as a full-time Legal Intern in the International Division where he assisted with issues of international and federal law relating to the oceans, maritime activities, and marine environment. He regularly participated in agency and interagency meetings and gained experience with several international and domestic environmental laws, including the Clean Water Act, Marine Mammal Protection Act, and the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, among many others.
Honors and Awards
- Golden Gate University School of Law – Jesse Carter Society (top 15%), Dean’s Merit Scholarship recipient, Dean’s List (all semesters), Honors Lawyering Program, State Bar of California Student Environmental Negotiations Competition (Spring 2015), Witkin Award Contracts II (Spring 2013), Witkin Award Real Estate Transactions (Spring 2015), CALI Award Lawyering Skills Lab (Summer 2013), and CALI Award Environmental Law & Policy (Fall 2014)
- California State University Maritime Academy – American Bureau of Shipping Merit Scholarship recipient, President’s List, and Dean’s List
Presentations and Publications
- Presenter, “CEQA Case Law Update,” Sacramento County Bar Association, Environmental Law Section, March 2021
- Coauthor, “CEQA Portal Topic Paper: Thresholds of Significance,” Association of Environmental Professionals, 2020
- Presenter, “CEQA Essentials Workshop,” Association of Environmental Professionals, November 2019
- Author, “Davey Jones’s Lockup: Changing the U.S. Approach to Prosecution and Punishment of Maritime Piracy in Universal Jurisdiction Cases,” 45 Golden Gate U. L. Rev. 123, 2015
- Board Member, Sacramento County Bar Association, Environmental Law Section, October 2019-present
- Golden Gate University School of LawJD, Environmental Law Specialization, 2015
- Staff Writer and Associate EditorGolden Gate University Law Review, 2013-2015
- California State University Maritime AcademyBA, Global Studies and Maritime Affairs, magna cum laude, 2012